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Survey probes SABC commissioning policy

Indie producers unhappy with major b'caster practices

JOHANNESBURG — The state-backed National Film and Video Foundation is doing a survey on commissioning for pubcaster South Africa Broadcasting Corp., which is reviewing its policies.

The survey takes place against the background of unhappiness among indie producers about aspects of major broadcasters’ commissioning practices.

There is a perception that only a few established producers are considered, with few opportunities for newcomers and smaller producers to break in.

There are also concerns about the lack of legal clarity in standard contracts on intellectual ownership rights, which can leave producers open to abuse such as when e.tv recently “hijacked” the production of the sudser “Backstage” from the original creators and producers, Morula Pictures.

Look to future

NFVF, which promotes and develops the industry, believes its survey will be crucial to the future of broadcasting by helping to set new standards. It has invited input from all players in the independent production sector.

SABC says the survey’s results will shape its future policies.

Aim is to better understand the challenges facing the industry and how the broadcaster can contribute to its development.

Survey will probe ways to improve the relationship between SABC and producers as well as possible business models and opportunities to improve programming quality and cost efficiency.

SABC will discuss its new policies with producers through a consultative process, facilitated by NFVF.

Finalized policies will be presented at the Sithengi Film and Television Market in Cape Town this November.

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